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Best places to eat in and around Scotland

My husband and I are seeking insights into particularly good (all price ranges) restaurants in the following cities/communities:

  • Oban
  • Portree (Skye area)
  • Inverness
  • Ballater
  • Stirling
  • Edinburgh (several days)

We are interested in breakfast, lunch and dinner options. We are moderately adventurous eaters and appreciate good simple food, too!

Thank you!

Posted by
184 posts

I have to get to work and have just noticed this post and don't have time to answer it properly :-(

I'll be back about 3.00pm (UK time) and will reply more fully then with regards place to eat in Ballater :-)

Posted by
3594 posts

In Edinburgh we discovered a place many years ago and have had a number of memorable meals there since with the most recent ones being last May. It is Maison Bleue at 36 Victoria St. which is off George IV Bridge St. which is just off High St. (The Royal Mile) close to the castle. Go to, type in the address, and you'll be able to locate it easily. You can use the street view to "walk" to it before leaving home. You can't miss the bleue façade. We've never had a problem being seated at lunch, but dinner reservations are advised. Small place, same ownership for years, and excellent food. In Oban try the Waterfront Fish House Restaurant located at the pier where the ferry to Mull docks. Excellent sea food.

Posted by
184 posts

Ballater has many dining options to suit all pockets and details of most of them can be found on the Visit Ballater website in the Places to Eat section

I particularly like Rocksalt and Snails and have eaten a light lunch there on a few occasions. We also had a great dinner at the Glen Lui Hotel before Christmas and use the Phoenix Chip Shop from time to time.

A new restaurant yet to feature on the site I mentioned is the Rothesay Rooms. The site for the restaurant and Highgrove Shop was donated by the Co-operative Group for a peppercorn rent and converted by The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust Outreach Programme, a charity chaired by HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales or The Duke of Rothesay as he is known in Scotland.

The restaurant aims to provide a new amenity for the local community and stimulate local commerce and tourism following the devastating floods brought in by Storm Frank at the end of December 2015, which destroyed more than 300 homes and 60 businesses in the village. You don't have to look far on the internet to discover how much damage was done to Ballater at the time, but since then a great deal of hard work has gone in to revitalising the village and it is very much open for business.

I don't know how long you have to spend in Ballater but if you have the opportunity to range a little further afield I would certainly recommend Finzean Farm Shop for a good lunch. It is near Banchory and if you are travelling that way might be a convenient place for lunch, morning coffee or afternoon tea.

Also if you are in Braemar then I certainly recommend The Bothy for lunch or a snack. We like it a lot and eat there a couple of times a month. In fact we are going there on Monday for lunch. The Bothy doesn't have a website, but it does have a Facebook page

I think it is fair to say that there is a very strong ethos among the restaurants, coffee shops and other eateries in the Ballater area to provide good quality food with as much as possible sourced from local suppliers.

I live in Crathie which is only eight miles along the A93 from Ballater and know the area very well. If there are any further questions which you have or if there's anything I can help you with then feel free to send me a private message if you wish.

Posted by
873 posts

Last spring I had some truly delicious fish and chips at the Oban Fish and Chip Shop ( Service was friendly, and the counter area was packed with locals picking up their dinner orders. There were probably nine of us from the tour group that ended up there independently, and we all agreed later on that the food was excellent.

Posted by
285 posts

The Grassmarket area in Edinburgh has a lot of good pub fare dining.

Posted by
3660 posts

In Edinburgh I stayed at the Hedges on Hillside Crescent. With my knees, it was a bit of a walk to Edinburgh downtown, so I chose to eat locally. Two places I tried were Kushi's on Antigua for Indian and Jolly on Elm Row for Italian. Neither was touristy or fancy. Both were delicious. They are almost across the street from each other.

There are many good places to eat in that area where London Rd, Elm Row, Gayfield Pl, Antigua St and Leith Walk all come together. There is good bus transportation and reasonably priced taxi service.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you all for your time and insights! You undoubtedly have made our trip better through your kindness!



Posted by
5668 posts

There are some wonderful restaurants in Inverness. I had marvelous dinner at Rocpool after a long journey up from London. I also had a great meal at The Mustard Seed. I would suggest reservations at both places. For casual food I had great pub dinner at Hootananny. You used to be able to get a great lunch at Leakey's Bookshop Cafe, but I think it went under.

In Edinburg the Mussell Inn or Fishers in New Town or The Shore in Leith are good for seafood. I also liked our meal at Stac Polly. It was very Scottish. Someday I am going to eat at The Witchery. There are lots of pubs in the Grassmarket area as already mentioned. If the weather is good sit outside and enjoy the people watching.

Posted by
308 posts

I will echo what Laura said about Three Chimneys on Skye. My friends and I splurged and had dinner there in August 2015 and it was amazing. It was fun driving past herds of blackfaced sheep on the way to the restaurant and then eating lamb as one of the courses!